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June 20, 1999 PM


1 Thes 5:17

INTRO: I dont know many Christian people who do not want to improve what some would call their prayer life. And I dont know any magic tricks to suggest which could bring instant satisfaction. But I know that sincere Christians do struggle at times with their lives in prayer. For a few minutes tonight I want to consider the wisdom of the scriptures: pray without ceasing!


A. A function of faith, of trust

1. so, Mt 21:22

2. and, it seems to me, the two develop together

B. A function of relationship

1. so, Mt 6:9 and 7:11 Father and 1 Jno 3:1 sons

2. prayer is indispensable to this relationship between us and God ... can the relationship be viable, strong in absence of communication?

C. A function of discipleship

1. Jno 15:6-8 prayer and abiding in Christ - and bearing fruit are inseparable

2. weak in prayer? it affects discipleship adversely

D. A function of our own limitations, needs

1. Ps 62:8 with Heb 13:6 my need for a Helper implies my limitations

2. believing that God acts in response to prayer, I take my limitations to Him


A. Give up on praying

1. Lk 18:1 with Jonah 2:7

2. we can become so distressed, so overwhelmed that praying is lost in the shuffle

3. times like these we must come to God in prayer

B. Become infrequent in prayer

1. 1 Thes 5:17 - Rom 12:12

2. possibly, we are already infrequent prayers

3. we study it; we talk about it; but are we really instant in prayer

C. Limit God in our praying

1. 1 Pet 3:12 here is an affirmation

2. but if we will accept as answers only those specific things we seek, we mentally limit Him

3. I hear people say, God answered my prayer - as if they would believe Hed not have answered if they did not receive exact petition

D. Be nonchalant in prayer

1. Jas 5:16 fervent prayer (cf. Lk 22:44)

2. casualness may suggest that the relationship is not as strong as it should be

3. remember, prayer is addressed to the God of the universe, the Eternal God ... Ps 34:3-8


A. Prayer does not have to be lengthy

1. the model prayer is very brief (Nehemiahs?)

2. yes, prayers may be lengthy ... but length does not, alone, make a prayer sincere, fervent

B. Legitimate concerns are fit subjects

1. yes, we occasionally struggle with how selfish it sounds (Jas 4:1-4 addresses carnality - not acceptable subjects for prayer)

2. each day offers many opportunities for praying

C. God cares about you and your concerns

1. 1 Pet 5:7

2. He is never too busy for me!

CLOSE: Pray with confidence. Pray without ceasing.

Cecil A. Hutson

20 June 1999

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)